PUCSL endorses electricity tariff hike | Sunday Observer

PUCSL endorses electricity tariff hike

22 January, 2023

Three of the four members of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) have approved the Cabinet proposal for an electricity tariff increase. The Cabinet introduced the proposal on January 9, seeking PUCSL approval.

When PUCSL members sans the chairman met President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday at the President’s Office, the President explained why the Government had decided to raise the electricity tariff despite its reluctance and the inconvenience caused to electricity users. The President had clearly explained that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would not be able to continue its services to the public without a tariff increase as decades of subsidies had caused huge losses.

The PUCSL members at the meeting, PUCSL Vice Chairman Udeni Wickremasinghe, veteran media personality Mohan Samaranayake, and senior lawyer Chathurika Wijesinghe had given their consent to the Cabinet decision to increase the electricity tariff. Their decision is in contradiction with the decision of the PUCSL chairman Janaka Ratnayake who opposed a tariff hike.

According to legal experts, the members of PUCSL have equal powers as per its Act.

A source close to one of the three PUCSL Commissioners said several individuals had threatened them with bodily harm after a meeting in Colombo to discuss the issue, where the PUCSL chairman was also present.

The source, who has an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Commission, said the chairman has also agreed in principle to the tariff hike as proposed by the Cabinet, though he had suggested that there should be no interim measures or charges with retrospective effect. “It was a diabolical lie on the part of the chairman to insinuate that the President had exerted pressure on the Commissioners to agree to the tariff hike. The President just explained the situation and asked them to think about it,” he said.

He alleged that the chairman has carried out his own agenda from the very outset. Even the official letter he drafted in reply to the Cabinet missive was prepared without consulting the other three Commissioners.

“There is, however, no final decision on increasing power tariffs. This will be done in accordance with the proper procedures as per the PUCSL Act. There is a lot of misinformation in this regard in the media and a lot of vicious allegations on political platforms,” the source added.